Evidence Of A Changed Life | Luke 19

Evidence Of A Changed Life | Luke 19

Do you know that God is known as the seeking Father? In the OT, God sought after Adam and Eve after they sinned in the garden. We can find God seeking after Abraham and the Patriarchs. God sought after Moses in the wilderness. When God sent his son Jesus into this world, he continued the mission of the Father. He came to seek and to save the lost.

We can find the seeking heart of God in Luke 15 when Jesus spoke three parables to show the seeking character of God: The seeking shepherd, the seeking woman, and the seeking father. In Luke 15, we find God as the one who is seeking after the lost.

God came seeking after the lost and when he found one, he and heaven would rejoice with them.

Therefore, in Luke 15, we have the parables of the seeking God. However, in Luke 19 we have that illustrated in real life. We find the seeking heart of Jesus in the life of a sinner called Zacchaeus. Luke 19:1-10 is a perfect demonstration of the heart of God. As we are going to see the seeking Christ in this passage, we are also going to look at the evidence of a changed life.

When God seeks and brings someone to his fold, there is evidence of a changed life.

Luke 19:1-10 1Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. 5When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”

6So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. 7All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” 8But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” 9Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

The story of Zacchaeus is intended to illustrate the truth of verse 10. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. Jesus sought and He saved the sinner Zacchaeus, which is a living example of what the Lord Jesus came to do.

Our God is a seeking God.

See what Paul says is our natural fallen, depraved state,

Romans 3:11 …there is no one who seeks God.

But God is a seeking God.

John 4:23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

The Father is always seeking.

What we have here is the seeking God revealed in the seeking Savior. He shows us here how it is that He seeks to save the lost. The lost is Zacchaeus.

Luke 19:1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through.

This is Jesus’ travel from Galilee to Jerusalem. Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. That Passover, Jesus would die on behalf of his people. So Jesus passes through Jericho.

Background Of Jericho

Now, Jericho was a fascinating city those days. It is located east of the city of Jerusalem. Jericho was called the city of palms. This city was also known as the city of the perfumed because of the Balsam wood. Jericho was called the Eden of Palestine with a lot of rose plantations.

However, it was a city of extortion and murder. Somewhere, the then ancient highways crisscrossed Jericho. So there was a lot of robbery and murder. Remember the story of the good Samaritan?

Jericho were crossroads in terms of its economics. All major trade routes passed through Jericho.

Jericho was also one of the main center of the Roman taxation. The Romans had three tax centers: Jericho, Capernaum, and Caesarea. The Roman government sold tax franchises to Jews. So the Jewish tax collectors collected taxes from their own people to pay the Romans. Therefore the Jews treated the tax collectors as traitors. So none of the tax collectors were allowed to worship in the synagogue or the temple. They were excommunicated from the Jewish society and religious system.

Luke every time writes about a tax collector showing them as good and transformed people. This is because he is showing us how much the Lord Jesus reached out to the worst in society and transformed them.

Luke 19:2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy.

I think Zacchaeus was the commissioner of taxes. He was not, like Matthew who was personally going out and getting taxes from people.

Zacchaeus was despised, he was hated. In verse 7 they called him a sinner.

So Jesus passes through this city. There are two wonderful incidents reported in the Scripture about this city. The healing of the two blind men, Bartimaeus and his friend, they receive their sight and salvation as well. The other incident is the incident of this man by the name of Zacchaeus. He is an illustration of the seeking, saving Lord.

The crowd around Jesus is growing by the day. Now, particularly because Jesus’ fame had spread throughout all of Palestine. The marvelous raising of Lazarus from the dead, which occurred just a little time before this.

The people are thinking that Jesus is going to Jerusalem to overthrow the Romans as their Messiah. But Jesus is going to give them an illustration through his death, that he came to seek and to save the lost in the world.

So we see Jesus coming through the city. There is a man named Zacchaeus in Jericho. Zacchaeus means pure one or righteous one. He is the chief tax collector. In his position he could get very, very rich, and it says at the end of verse 2 he was wealthy.

This man had heard of Jesus. Luke 19:3 He wanted to see who Jesus was,..

Zacchaeus would have heard about the resurrection of Lazarus. He would have heard about the claims that Jesus is the Messiah, that Jesus can forgive sin. And here was an outcast, a man with a lot of guilt. Instead of running and hiding, there’s something so desperate in this man to see Jesus.

So he was trying to see who Jesus was but he was unable because of the crowd. There was so big a crowd there crushing Jesus. There were so many of the residents of Jericho all over the place alongside the crowd that is traveling with Jesus. To add to that, it says he was small in stature.

Listen, it is risky for a high official to be a part of the crowd. But he is not concerned about his status or moved by the lack of his height rather he goes to see Jesus.

Luke 19:4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

He cannot see so he ran ahead of the crowd and climbed up into a sycamore tree. This tree has leaves like a mulberry tree. It was like a short, fat tree with spreading branches. He ran ahead, climbed into a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus. Jesus was about to pass through that way. So he’s got himself a perfect seat for the parade going by.

Luke 19:5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”

This is a shocking statement. No one knew that Zacchaeus was there but Jesus knew it. I am glad that this man did not get a shock and fall out of the tree. Jesus stops in the middle of thousands of people, looks at a tree and says, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” The word “must” means it’s a divine mandate. It not a request, it is a command.

Here is the worst sinner in town in the eyes of the people. This man is worse than a prostitute, worse than a robber, worse than anybody. Jesus is wanting to go and stay at his home.

Can you imagine the reaction of the crowd? Jesus was the hero in the land of Israel by now. He is coming to the house of Zacchaeus. No one would invite Zacchaeus into their house but Jesus is going to the house of Zacchaeus. See their reaction:

Luke 19:7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

A sinner is a lost person. He is lost to salvation, lost to holiness, righteousness, lost to eternal life because of sin. Jesus has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner. Can you imagine that? They believed that to go into the house of an outcast was to defile yourself.

Zacchaeus gladly came down. He went with Jesus to his home. The people said, “Look at that. He went to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”

Beloved, that is exactly the reason Jesus came into the world, to take up residence with sinners. That’s why Luke constantly has Jesus with the tax collectors and sinners over and over and over again so that we will understand that He came to be with sinners. Jesus came to save sinners.

So off they go to Zacchaeus’ house. The curtain drops at the end of verse 7.

We don’t know the conversations in the house but one thing is sure: Jesus confronted his sin. Probably Jesus would use the same approach that He used with a rich, young ruler. Zacchaeus confessed his sins and he is saved. Here is a changed life. Here is the evidence of a changed life:

Luke 19:8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

Zacchaeus stood and made a formal declaration. Here is the evidence of a changed life.

Evidence Of A Changed Life

1. A Changed Mind

Zacchaeus Acknowledged Jesus Is Lord

Luke 19:8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord!..

He’s acknowledging Jesus as Lord, as God in human flesh and his master and teacher. That is the first evidence of a changed life. Have you acknowledged Jesus as your Lord?

2. A Changed Heart

Zacchaeus Has The Heart Of God – Generosity

Luke 19:8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

This is a big reversal. It happened immediately, ‘here and now.’ This is a changed life or a transformed heart. One half of his estate he will give to the poor. That’s more probably than he had taken.

He is now evidencing a totally transformed character. The taker has become a giver. Extortioner has become a philanthropist. Incredible change. This is the evidence of a changed life.

Regeneration changes a person. One of the manifestations of new birth is that you have the heart of God, and the heart of God is especially bent toward the poor.

James 1:26-27 26Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

So when he acknowledges Jesus as Lord, he shows us that there’s been a changed mind there. When he acknowledges that he’s going to take half of his entire estate and give it to the poor, he acknowledges he’s got a changed heart. He’s a different person. Changed mind and changed heart is the evidence of changed life.

And then the next thing: Luke 19:8 …..and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.

3. A Changed Behavior

Now he’s got a changed behavior. His behavior is totally different. He is giving back four times as much.

See the standards of restitution in the OT.

First, Numbers 5:5-7 5The Lord said to Moses, 6“Say to the Israelites: ‘Any man or woman who wrongs another in any way and so is unfaithful to the Lord is guilty 7and must confess the sin they have committed. They must make full restitution for the wrong they have done, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the person they have wronged.

The same is mentioned in Leviticus 6:5. So the Levitical law says if you have extorted or stolen something you are to give it back. When you give back, give the value and add one-fifth to it. If it is Rs. 100/- give back Rs 120/-

Second, Exodus 22:7 If anyone gives a neighbor silver or goods for safekeeping and they are stolen from the neighbor’s house, the thief, if caught, must pay back double.

So if you can give back the goods and you do it voluntarily, you give back the goods plus a fifth.

If you can’t give back the goods, you’re caught, the goods have been consumed, you’re required to give back double in value. If it is Rs. 100/-, give back Rs. 200/-

Third, Exodus 22:1 Whoever steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it must pay back five head of cattle for the ox and four sheep for the sheep.

If the robbery involved violence and included destruction or death, you were to pay back fourfold or even fivefold. That is Rs. 400 to Rs. 500 for Rs. 100.

Now, Zacchaeus would have been very generous if he’d given back double of what he took. It was absolutely extravagant that he gave back four times what he took for that applied only in the case of violence and the death, say, of an animal, a sheep or another animal.

Now, what does that tell you about Zacchaeus? Listen carefully:

1. His Mind Has Been Totally Transformed.

When he says Jesus is Lord, when he confesses Jesus as Lord, it shows you that his mind has been totally transformed to understand the deity of Christ.

2. His Heart Has Been Totally Transformed.

When he says I want to give half of my entire estate to the poor, you know his heart has been changed, and now he has the heart of God toward the poor.

3. His Behavior Has Been Totally Transformed.

To pay back fourfold, it shows you that his behavior is so altered that he is extravagantly obedient to God.

This is the heart of a redeemed person. It is the evidence of a changed person. This is what Jesus can do in us.

There’s such a change in him that Jesus said: Luke 19:9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house…

How do you know that? Jesus is reacting to the evidence. The evidence is in the fruit of a changed life.

Jesus sees a changed mind, a changed heart, a changed behavior pattern. So salvation changes his essential nature from greed to graciousness. Salvation changes the passion of his life from selfishness to righteousness.

Luke 19:9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham…

He is behaving this way because he is also a son of Abraham. “What does Jesus mean by that? Does He mean he’s a Jew? “Well, what do you mean by son of Abraham?”

A son of Abraham is not in the racial sense, but in the sense of faith. Paul takes this concept from Jesus and writes to us in Romans and Galatians.

Romans 2:28-29 28A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code.

Paul is telling that a true Jew not merely a descendant of Abraham racially, but one with a changed heart by the Spirit of God.

Galatians 3:29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

You see, a true son of Abraham is not just a racial Jew. A true son of Abraham believes in Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of the world.

Romans 4:11-12 11And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them.

So listen, there are two ways to look at the fatherhood of Abraham. He fathered a race physically. He fathered a race spiritually.

Now, with that in mind, let’s go back to Luke 19. What Jesus is saying here is he, too, is a son of Abraham. He doesn’t mean he’s Jewish racially, he means he is a true son of Abraham by faith. All those who have faith in Jesus Christ is a true son of Abraham.

Luke 19:9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.

Salvation has come and he is a son of Abraham because Zacchaeus has a changed mind about Christ and His Lordship. He has a changed heart, he wants to give instead of take. Zacchaeus has a changed behavior.

All this is the evidence of a changed life in God or faith in God.

Coming back, what is all this about? Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

Jesus comes to Jericho seeking to save a sinner. He went after the man. His heart was prepared by the Holy Spirit. Jesus rested in his house. Zacchaeus was a sinner, lost from the presence of God. Jesus went to him. Salvation came to Zacchaeus. He is showing evidence of a changed life. He has a transformed mind, a transformed heart, and a transformed behavior.

This is the fruit of repentance according to John the Baptist in Luke 3. True faith is going to result in a transformed life, a changed life.

Jesus came to seek and to save that which is lost. That’s why He came.

Conclusion:

This is what is explained in the parables of Luke 15. Jesus is the seeking Shepherd who lost his one sheep. He is the seeking woman who lost her one coin. Also, Jesus is the seeking father who lost his younger son. In all the parables something was lost. The lost possession was searched and found. And once found, there was great rejoicing.

Luke 15:7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Luke 15:22-24 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

This is exactly what happened in Zacchaeus’ life.

Church history says according to Clement of Alexander that Zacchaeus became a pastor of the church of Caesarea. This church was later followed in that pastorate by Cornelius, the Gentile whom Peter had led to Christ, in Acts 10. Incredible, see how a life is changed when Jesus comes.

Man has such deep need. He is spiritually dead, he needs to be regenerated. Man is spiritually defiled, he needs to be cleansed. He is spiritually a slave of sin, he needs to be free. Man is spiritually dark, he needs light. He is spiritually ignorant, he needs instruction.

He’s lost. As a sinner, he needs a prophet to tell him the truth. Man needs a priest to represent him to God. He needs a king to guide, protect, and provide for his life. Man needs a shepherd to feed and secure him. And Jesus came to do all of that for you.

Jesus came to seek and to save the one who is lost.

Look at your own heart.

Where are you? Are you lost? Do you feel cut off from the life of God? Are you without the forgiveness of sin today? If you’re lost Jesus is seeking you. The Holy Spirit is right now moving in your heart and calling you to have faith in Christ and respond like Zacchaeus did. Confess that He is God and Lord, ask Him to change your life and empower you to bring forth the fruit of repentance.

If you are already a child of God, do you demonstrate the evidence of a changed life? Do you have a changed mind, a changed heart, and changed behavior? God is calling you once again. Will you surrender your life to God once again and say Lord, “Change me.”

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